GfK: Global phablet ownership doubled in Q4 2014

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Phablets made up an eighth of total mobile device sales in the final three months of last year, with the increase accompanied by a fall in their average selling price

Global phablet sales almost doubled yearly to represent 12.8 per cent of total mobile device sales in Q4 2014 as consumers continue to prefer phones with screens of 5.5-inches or larger.

That is according to the latest figures released by GfK, which said falling prices and growing appetite for multimedia content mean the popularity of phablets will continue this year and beyond.

The statistics revealed phablet ownership is growing in all global regions. Asia Pacific led the way, with ownership more than doubling from 8.5 per cent a year ago to 17.5 per cent. In the Middle East share was 11.1 per cent, up from 6.2 per cent the previous year.

Europe’s share was lower but still growing quickly, more than doubling to 6.4 per cent from three per cent in Q4 2013. Africa’s share rose slightly by 1.1 per cent to 5.5 per cent, while share was lowest in Latin America at 1.9 per cent, up by just 0.4 per cent from a year earlier.

The figures also show that increase in phablet sales has been accompanied by a fall in the average price, with global prices dropping over the year by 50c to $505. GfK said were perfect conditions for sales to take off.

Prices in Europe were highest, falling 30c to $761, followed by Latin America, which was down by more than a third to $631. Africa was next at $625 (-24c), followed by the Middle East at $511 (-42c) and lastly Asia Pacific at $466 (-60c).

GfK global director of telecoms Arndt Polifke said: “The phablet’s not-so-secret weapon is its screen size, perfect for consuming the media content people have become addicted to. Phablets are all-rounders, fulfilling the combined roles of a smartphone and tablet – but for a lower price than just one of these devices. This means emerging markets will have a crucial role to play in their rise, and we expect to see sales increase in Africa and Latin America in 2015 and beyond.

“Consumers are starting to choose phablets instead of normal smartphones. We expect to see this trend continue in 2015 for two reasons: firstly, the appeal of a hybrid phone/tablet is particularly strong in emerging markets where consumers can now make a choice between a basic smartphone and one with tablet capabilities for almost the same price.

“Secondly, more affordable models are coming to market, with a number of models now available for $150 or less, making them accessible to many more people. For the tech-obsessed consumer, more sophisticated models are available for $800 plus. With their multiple uses and price points from low to high, the phablet is poised for greatness in 2015.”

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